Thu, Oct 26, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Investors wait on sidelines

Shares closed 0.53 percent lower yesterday as investors awaited the release of third-quarter earnings by local companies and the US Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates, dealers said.

The TAIEX lost 37.53 points at 7,059.89, on turnover of NT$73.91 billion (US$2.22 billion).

Decliners led risers 791 to 322, with 166 stocks unchanged.

"The market drifted in directionless trade today as investors could not find a lodestar like yesterday," said Alvin Teng (鄧可欣) of SinoPac Securities Corp (永豐金證券).

■ E-commerce market booms

Taiwan's e-commerce market is expected to reach NT$145.1 billion this year, up 60 percent from last year, according to a report released by the Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心) yesterday.

Among the figure, online shopping accounts for NT$93.5 billion, and online auction takes up NT$51.6 billion, the report said.

Online shoppers tend to purchase cosmetics, clothes and accessories in virtual stores, while buy consumer electronics via auction sites, the report said.

With strong growth momentum in the sector, the market may even exceed NT$150 billion this year, the report said.

The report was based on an online survey on 5,988 users of Hinet, MSN Taiwan, Wretch, Yahoo-Kimo, PC Home Online, Seednet and Yam. The error of margin is 1.27 percent.

■ Starbucks buys Chinese partner

US coffee giant Starbucks Corp bought control of a Chinese joint venture partner in a move to facilitate expansion plans in one of the world's fastest growing markets, the company said yesterday.

The Seattle-based coffee chain acquired equity ownership in High Grown Investment Group (Hong Kong), the majority shareholder of Beijing Mei Da, which operates 60 Starbucks outlets under license in northern China, Starbucks said.

The purchase gives Starbucks a 90 percent controlling stake in Beijing Mei Da, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported. No financial details of the deal were made public.

Starbucks now operates 190 stores in 19 cities in China.

■ Amazon's Q3 earnings drop

Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc said Tuesday its third-quarter earnings fell by a third, but the company still managed to beat analysts' expectations.

The Seattle-based company reported net income of US$19 million, or US$0.05 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30.

That compares with earnings of US$30 million, or US$0.07 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Sales for the quarter rose 24 percent to US$2.31 billion, from US$1.86 billion in the same quarter last year.

For the all-important fourth quarter, in which sales are fueled by holiday spending, the company is expecting sales of between US$3.63 billion and US$3.95 billion.

■ Formosa cuts pump prices

Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) cut gasoline and diesel prices after oil prices declined, matching a reduction announced by Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油) on Tuesday.

Domestic wholesale gasoline prices dropped by NT$0.7 a liter and diesel declined by NT$0.8, effective 10am yesterday, Formosa Petrochemical said in a statement.

■ NT dollar slips

The New Taiwan dollar weakened slightly against its US counterpart yesterday as short covering of US dollar emerged ahead of the US Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates due later in the day.

The NT declined NT$0.008 to close at NT$33.316 against the greenback on the Taipei Forex Inc. Turnover was US$752 million.

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